Does Gender Equality Lead to More Homicides?

Gender equality in employment is associated with overall homicide rates — and not in a good way, new research finds.

As a country’s gender equality in the workplace increases, so does the country’s homicide rate, according to a study from Baylor University.

For the research, Katie Corcoran, who teaches sociology and anthropology at West Virginia University, studied 146 countries based on multiple years of social and economic data from Gallup World Polls and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

In a Baylor news release, Corcoran notes that the exact nature of the relationship between gender equality and homicide remains unclear.

“The finding does not mean that gender equality in employment increases homicide rates, but there is a correspondence. What remains uncertain is the ‘why’ behind this relationship, although prior research suggests it may be due to threatening male status.”

She also notes that the research finds are significant because they reveal that “gender inequality does not only affect women”:

“In the past, studies of gender inequality and violence typically focused on male-on-female violence, including rape and homicide. Yet gender inequality can contribute to broad cultures of violence that may explain male-on-male, female-on-male and female-on-female violence as well.”

She added that future research on cross-national violent crime must consider gender inequality as well as income inequality, which is a traditional measure related to homicide rates.

Corcoran conducted the study while a post-doctoral research fellow at Baylor, and she presented it Tuesday at the American Sociological Association’s annual meeting.

Are you surprised by the correlation between gender equality and homicide rates? What do you think is behind the trend? Share your thoughts in our Forums. It’s the place where you can speak your mind, explore topics in-depth, and post questions and get answers.

Stacy Johnson

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